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Mpeketoni 'mastermind' guilty despite phone data, says State

COAST
By Joackim Bwana | December 18th 2015

Data from Safaricom displayed in court suggests one of the alleged masterminds of the Mpeketoni massacre could have been in Malindi at the time of the attack.

Close to 100 people were killed during the attack that began in Mpeketoni on June 15 last year and spread to other parts of the county. The violence was claimed by Al-Shabaab. Hamadi Swaleh Hamadi alias Jesus was arrested alongside driver Diana Salim Suleiman and charged for the murder of 65 people.

But State witness Jeremiah Ikiao, who is the Tana River DCIO, testified on Wednesday that survivors identified Hamadi during the massacre in Mpeketoni. Ikiao insisted that despite the Safaricom data, a witness had positively identified the defendant in Mpeketoni during the mass murder.

"Just because the data shows the accused was not near the scene does not mean he is innocent. We have a witness who saw him during that night of the attack in Mpeketoni," Ikiao old Justice Martin Muya.

The data shows that between June 14 to 18 last year, Hamadi's phone was traced to Malindi. It was reported that between these dates, over 250 calls were made from Hamadi's cellphone from Malindi.

Under cross examination from Hamadi's lawyer Taib Ali Taib, the witness admitted he did not contact any of the people the defendant called or spoke with to determine where he (the suspect) was during this period.

Taib faulted the State for failure to contact 251 people who had been called and received calls from Jesus, according to the Safaricom data.

The DCIO alleged the defendant had been linked to a land dispute at Poromoko, Mavuno and Kaisari ranch in Lamu, where he is alleged to have used police force to evict squatters living in the land before the massacre took place.

But Taib requested that Ikiao presents to the court a list of police officers who had worked with Jesus to evict the said squatters.

Taib said the State was only punishing the weak and innocent yet the real perpetrators of the Mpeketoni attacks were walking free.

"We want a list of all the police who participated in evicting the squatters because if Jesus is charged for forcefully evicting the squatters that led to the death of one person, then the police too are guilty and should be known," said Taib.

Justice Muya ordered upon request by Taib that the DCIO supplies defence council with the three police files.

The case will be heard on January 27 and 28.

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